Album Review: Dr. m.o.m. – Thank You

Label: Trippin’ the Rift
Catalog No: TTRR013

My Own Mind. That’s what the “m.o.m.” stands for. Doctor My Own Mind. The alias of Otari Kakanov, music brain surgeon and pretty handy with scissors. He has cut and assembled a plethora sound pieces from old records and films, pasting together a smoky cast-down atmosphere to dwell in. Influenced by the work of early abstract hip-hop artists, Dr. m.o.m. has gone a level deeper, descending into more somber territory and creating dense textures that knock down walls.

Thank You is a story that takes us through despair and joy. An excursion down a twisted road of unfortunate circumstance that comes to a dead end at rock bottom. Then the assistance of a friend turns everything around and happiness is restored. For that you must tell them thank you. What began as a fun jaunt with ethereal effects and bouncing grooves quickly morphed into a morose chaos soon to be supplanted by a gloomy melancholic pain. Emotive orchestral tones twist around the morose strikes of the piano. Sliding further down until the end of the road unfolds and presents a dimly lit room clouded by smoky vapor. A half empty bottle of whiskey, ashtray overflowing with cigarette butts. Eyes glassed over, faint objects mere blurs of light dancing to the sedate drumbeat and mournful piano.

Through some unexplained karmic portal comes the aid of a familiar comfort. An old friend that is held close to the heart materializes and begins the painstaking process of helping repair the damage from the abuses of life. An astral uplifting begins. Ambient swirls cut through smoke and disperses it, banishing it to another dimension. The drums take over and fill the room with an energetic pulse, commanding the senses into action. The mind has cleared. The room falls away to a bustling city, lighting the sky up with a palette of various colors. Everything has an angelic glow to it, a positive radiance and it would not have been possible without the inspiring guidance of an old friend.

Thank You combines jazz elements and hip hop beats with record scratching and the occasional ambient echo. Borrowing from a varied selection of genres makes it an eccentric familiarity. It’s something we have all heard before but not in this way. All the sounds compliment each other to represent every emotion felt in the whirlwind tale it tells. The moral of the story is to, of course, say Thank You to those you are grateful for. Give thanks to the ones who are always there for you.

Rating: 4 Stars
Standout Track: Reign Over Me


Album Review: Lcoma – Evolve EP

Label: Inner Ocean

The faint ringing of a faraway alarm wafts over airwaves, dispersing an alert agitation to the ears it reaches. A continuous drone spirals its way out as the ringing ripples across the land. A change has occurred somewhere nearby and all organisms give off a sudden reaction; a biological response to the tough times that will soon arrive. The evolution of the planet takes one more small painful step towards serenity.

Lcoma’s Evolve EP is a cyclical story about the struggles of anxiety. All living beings in this dimension battle this ailment at one time or another and it’s always in a circular pattern. We start off feeling apprehensive and concerned. This gradually descends into a worrisome obsession. We begin to dwell on every miniscule aspect until all of it means nothing. A darkness washes over and the smothering stench of desperation overwhelms the mind. The progression of time brings us back into the light. A harrowing experience always end with a dose of wisdom as the world feels inviting and cheerful again, all fright vanquished. Further on down the road a new obstacle appears and the cycle begins again.

Evolve starts in a bleak dream state, a swelling ethereal loss of physical perception. The music transports you to another world, dark and eerie at first but soon comforting. Distorted particles caress the skin and send shivers throughout the entire nervous system. This aural out-of-body experience is new yet strangely familiar. It is a refuge for the soul to escape to whenever peril arises. This is replaced by deep tones of anxiety palpitating on the window. A floating sensation takes over; you are now suspended in a riotous wind. Various spirits and emotions try to pull you in different directions and end up ripping you apart. For one brief incalculable moment all hope seems lost.

By the time the eponymous track at the end appears, a wondrous process of regeneration has begun. The harrowing experience has come to pass and time begins its eternal task of healing. Docile tones enliven your molecules, repairing your understanding and clearing your mind. A mild enlightenment has just occurred as the circle arcs to its completion, ready to begin again. Every time we finish a circle we evolve a little more. As the drones fade and the guitar tremors all alone, we walk into the horizon ready for whatever may come next.

Rating: 4.5 Stars
Standout Track: Evolve

Album Review: Emotion Coder – My Never Ending Wish EP

Label: Mojear Records
Catalog No: MJ50

A soulful night in the city. Street lights streak past, leaving a bright stain on the car’s metallic shine that immediately melts away. Wheels endlessly turning towards the modern mountains of concrete and steel, all lit up twinkling in the dark abyss. A quick drive from home to downtown, anticipation for the evening’s events mounting. Smooth beats pulsating from hidden speakers simmers the apprehension and quiets the mind. Three new tracks from India’s Emotion Coder have let their powers of repose be known. On a short 15 minute twilight drive you can experience a soothing variety of electronic possibilities.

“Signify” is the first track and gets the ball rolling with grandiose trumpets and spastic percussion. Accompanied by seductive vocals from a smoky angel looking out over the darkness. The car melds with the music and becomes part of it: windshield wipers keep the beat, the hum of the engine recycles echoes back into the ears. The act of driving feels more like the art of playing an instrument when this happens. A dark an empty country road becomes a blank staff waiting to be filled with music. Suddenly, “Streets” appear. The 2nd track is a chilled out mix of downtempo and jazz elements. A unifying groove is carved, drawing various sounds together like water into a ditch. It accompanies you on your journey as the city looms near. Track number three, “Concentric”, paints the portrait of a harmonious urban atmosphere. Industrial influences lurk out of the shadows while a dream-like fog is blown in from placid synth tones. Lights melt into watercolor hues across the windshield, only to be swept away.

My Never Ending Wish is a great sampler from a talented artist who can turn any electronic genre into a transcendent sensation. The future holds a special place for such moving sounds that can tell a story before our very eyes. This solid release has given us a small taste of what Emotion Coder is capable of. In time I hope he will share all of his aural wisdom with the world.

Rating: 4 Stars
Standout Track: Streets

Album Review: Somnambuliya – Sleep Deprivation

Label: Trippin’ the Rift

From deep within the dense forests of Russia a subtle frenetic beat begins to pound. Augmented by a wave of dreamy harmonies, a deep and sullen voice croons in its native language. The piano hums a somber melody as the snow lazily drifts down from the sky. Lack of sleep has taken over and a waking dream assaults your senses. A new world appears and there is no way of knowing if it is a tangible presence or merely a tricky phantasm sent here to fool your perception. In this state of conscious hibernation the music has complete control over you, making you see whatever it wants you to.

The piano cuts into you like an icy wind. Taps and clicks accompany the wind and stutter out a lazy and comfortable pattern. You wrap around the slowly winding curves of the beat and let it take you. It sails across a desolate winter, drifting smoothly past snow drifts and icicle-draped evergreens. It is all so beautiful yet melancholy. The soft singing hypnotizes your sleep impoverished mind, massaging your synapses and reviving weakened cells.

You can’t understand what is being said but this ignorance has an added aesthetic benefit. The Russian lyrics have a disorienting effect in this dismantled state. The emotive inflections are understood but not the actual words; all meaning absorbed in a deep cavern somewhere inside your head. Somnambuliya’s dark textures are a morose experience that fuel your emotions with deep disconsolate moods. It’s all laid out on a waving tapestry that plays beautifully sincere music. Together they can be ridden to the edge of consciousness, the music guiding you towards sleep.

Rating: 4 Stars
Standout Track: Winter Song

Album Review: Damn Robot! – Jasurp

Label: Hawk Moon Records

Through a creative mix of musical styles, the new album from Damn Robot! is a laid back stroll through your mind. Sit back and let your brains wander off for a little while. They will go to a dreamy comfort zone conceived for relaxation and subconscious contemplation. Jasurp has utilized some of the best rock, jazz, electronic and ambient elements and weaved them together into a lush blanket of monochromatic warmth.

The Honey brothers come together to spin rotating compositions that can entomb souls. Each of the songs are beautiful and full of power. They are at the same time serene and cumbersome. It feels like you are carrying a heavy weight but wouldn’t have it any other way. Each track seamlessly drifts into the next keeping you suspended in a dreamland of grey solace.

Most of the songs are sweeping downtempo epics drenched in echoes and ghostly guitar riffs. Songs like “The One Who Knocks” turn into a lounge act jam session with hindered tempos and psychedelic drizzle spattering down from the drums and guitar. Various samples of people’s voices compliment the reserved vocals, reflecting the crazy conglomerated world against our restless determined spirit. Some of these kooky samples seemed slightly out of place yet they still made me smile.

Jasurp is a restful joyride for all us passengers at the onset of night. There is a comforting wisdom that shines from the placid beats and ethereal vocals. It sets a melancholic tone for all those sad moments but it still brings us cheer. We can all find some joy in this chronicle of human emotion. No matter what happens to us in this life, always remember to find happiness where you can and keep on moving.

Standout track: A Drop In the Ocean
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Review: Viral Implications – Tears of Glass EP

Label: On-Mix Media
Catalog No: onmp188

Viral Implications is making a quiet entrance into the new year with this five track EP. Mixing downtempo beats with worldly electronic vibes, a chillout experience has been manifested. You can fluidly weave in and out of the beats and feel the constant motion of everything around you. You get wrapped up inside a warm cocoon spun by lush tones and it makes you want to nestle inside and wait for your metamorphosis.

The mild poignancy of the songs shows us a human side to mechanical warblings and robotic drum patterns. The task of attaching emotion to lifeless computer sounds is difficult and this release makes the process seem effortless. There is an unfortunate inconsistent gap with some of the songs. The lack of proper transitions takes away from the fluid flow of the music. It is a subtle reminder that you are only listening to music and not experiencing a total rebirth.

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Standout Track: A Homeless Farewell

The Shimmer Effect – Uranometria

Label: Bushmen Records
Catalog No: bush30

In the current world of music, it is very common to come across an artist that is very fluid with their choice of genres. These days contrary genres are being fused together to create new sounds, be they good or bad. The Shimmer Effect have taken elements from an array of genres, including Ambient, Techno, Hip-Hop and World Music and threw them all into a high-powered blender. After blending on pulse for what seems like endless hours, a vibrant collection of songs pours out. Colorful, flavorful and very chilled, this is one concoction that is good for you.

This duo have layers upon layers of unique sounds on this release. They use beats inspired by Hip-Hop and Techno and add dreamy soundscapes, accentuated manipulated samples from countless sources. The entire collaboration melds together, forming a cohesive bond surely meant to bring all the music lovers of the world closer together. There is a little something for everyone here. The whole thing puts you in a very chilled out mood. It’s still carries some intensity though. You keep getting a feeling like something is right around the corner waiting for you, but you are in too much of a laid back state to care. You possess the knowledge that whatever it is cannot hurt you and just wants to join you in the listening experience.

The ultimate challenge here is trying to find a distinct consistency. Though some songs flow into each other and are very complimentary, there are others that spring out of nowhere and lack a direct connection. That jumpy feeling that something is about to get you looms and you’re just not sure when it will come. I think it adds to the overall experience. They have created something new and are forcing us to experience new feelings that best explain what we are hearing. There is still a flow throughout the album, it’s just always changing. You can sense the fluidity inside as you slowly become one with the music.

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Standout Track: Paranormal Activity

Review: Tardiss – Behind the Blind

Label: No-Source
Catalog No: NS028

As the beat arises from the abyss of the universe, ambient murmurs stretch across the sky. A spectrum of color slowly twists and bends like a kaleidoscope. These effects descend upon an unsuspecting city, bringing forth a new found beauty in the things we see every day.

Minneapolis based duo Tardiss take downtempo beats and mesh them with ambient undertones, painting a gorgeous portrait of a trek through the concrete jungle. The bustling city streets have been given theme music that presents us with an opportunity to take a second look at the things we see all the time but never take the time to really look at. Behind the Blind takes the fast and hectic metropolitan world and slows it down to a speed where we can fully appreciate it.

The tempos are very leisurely and allow the various audio samples to float in and throughout the beats. It puts the modern sense of speed into perspective. These days all we do is move faster and faster. We blip through time like it was merely a millisecond to us instead of an entire lifetime. We were put on this planet to appreciate everything it has to offer. People today are so busy that they don’t take the time to really acknowledge the sheer coincidental miracle that is their existence. Tardiss have given us a reason to sit back and enjoy one of the great powers our bodies possess: listening. Instead of getting lost in a traffic jam on the highway, get lost in your own head for 45 minutes. You just might learn something.

Standout track: Silver Fences
Rating: 4 stars

Review: dep – dep

Label: BFW Recordings
Catalog No: BFW111

As you feel your heart coursing its beats through your veins, a great wistful feeling begins to encircle you. Sweeping graces of ambient spectrums cascade down upon subtle fragmented rhythms. You are lifted up into the empty space blessed by the choirs of chords and the drones to nourish your soul.

dep has created an immense progression of pieces made with your well-being in mind. The tones heard can bring about regeneration of the human spirit. You can crawl in between the ambient waves and make a bed to rest your mind. Manipulation of human voices move the works into a linguistic labyrinth, where what is being said does not matter so long as it is heard.

This is a stunning relaxation for the mind, body and soul. A downtempo immersion into the within, with positive results.

Standout track: City Nights
Rating: 4.5 stars

Review: coldreavers – Blue Eyes

Label: Trippin’ the Rift
Catalog No: TTRR003

Trip-hop and Ambient. A great combo but add some World Music to that mix. After blending on pulse for about 30 seconds Blue Eyes is what oozes out of your speakers. Hailing from Russia, coldreavers has taken elements from African and Middle Eastern music to create a dark and groovy downtempo adventure. The crawling beats are supplemented by bleak tremors from Ambient swells that submerge you into a dark pool of sorrow.

There are a few different vocalists who contributed their beautiful tones to this chillout elegy for a long reclusive evening. They range in style, genre and language but they all make massive contributions to the atmosphere. They lighten the intensity of the music, putting a human aspect to it from where we can perceive it better. Such intensity on its own could almost be unbearable at times. The vocals are a guide on our tour through a different world. A dark world of despair and anguish. One that all humans stumble into from time to time.

I highly recommend this album to any Ambient or Trip-Hop fan. All Massive Attack fans should check it out too.

Standout track: Morning In the Café
Rating: 4.5 stars